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Britain Votes to Leave


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#1 jackdiddley

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 11:35 AM

Yesterday, Britain voted in a referendum on our membership of the European Union. It was the first such vote in 40 years. Last time, the result was overwhelming in favour of remaining in the Union. This time, the result was to leave.

 

In the run up to last year's General Election, David Cameron promised that if the Conservatives won, he would address the issue of the European Union. He pledged to seek a new deal with the EU regarding Britain's membership, which would then be put to the British public in an in.out referendum. There has been a lot of speculation about this promise in the last 12 hours or so, with many people saying it was made because he never really thought he'd have to keep it (in the run up to the election, a hung Parliament was expected, with a Conservative/Lib Dem coalition expected to continue in power). Even more people have said he was forced to make this promise to prevent defections from the Conservatives to the UK Independence Party (UKIP). Whatever his reasons, the Tories won an unexpected overall majority at the election, and Cameron kept his promise. A new deal was negotiated in February, and the referendum was called.

 

Over the last few weeks we have had one of the most toxic, poisonous and downright nasty campaigns I can ever remember. The Remain side has been accused of engaging in "Project Fear" - scaremongering about what would happen with an out vote. The Leave side has been accused of lying about the economics of staying in the EU and racism with regards to immigration. It all came to a head last week when MP Jo Cox was murdered by Thomas Mair, a man who, when he appeared in court, gave his name as "Death to traitors, freedom for Britain".

 

The polls have been neck and neck for most of the campaign. Due to the nature of the vote, it wasn't possible to conduct an exit poll which meant it was simply a case of "wait and see" for the results. However, YouGov publish a final poll just after the polls closed suggesting a 52%-48% win for Remain. This boosted Sterling (our currency), which hit the heady heights of $1.50 to the £1 at one point. 

 

Then, actual results came in. Gibraltar came in first, with a 96% Remain vote. Given Gibraltar's position, this was fully expected. Indeed, a lot of the early results were in favour of Remain, but in areas with relatively small populations. The first "big" results that came in were Newcastle (expected Remain) and Sunderland (expected Leave). Newcastle did indeed come in for Remain, but by a much smaller margin than expected, while Sunderland was as pro-Leave as expected. This set the tone for the night, with Leave doing consistently better than expected, even in areas where Remain won. With the Sunderland result (something like 61-39 Leave), the value of Sterling started to fall sharply.

 

At the halfway point of the night, it was still nip and tuck. But then the results for Scotland and London were complete (both strong Remain), and so the gap started to open. At 4:40am, the BBC officially called the result in favour of Leave. At 6:00, Leave passed the number of votes required to win. The UK had voted to leave the EU. The final margin was 52% - 48%.

 

The immediate impact was horrific for the stock and currency exchanges. This was to be expected - if there is one thing that the markets hate, it is uncertainty, and we have that in bucket loads. By mid-morning, David Cameron had announced that he has resigned as Prime Minister, although he will stay on to "stabilise" the country. He is expected to have been replaced by October. Whoever the new PM is will have the job of negotiating Britain's exit. Jeremy Corbyn (Labour leader, Leader of the Opposition) is facing a no confidence vote amongst his MPs after a disastrous campaign - Labour strongholds voted strongly to Leave following an almost completely invisible campaign to Remain by the party. It will be interesting to see how long he can stay on.

 

So what happens now? Following a strong Remain results in Scotland, the SNP (Scottish Nationalists) are eyeing an independence referendum, 2 years after a vote to remain as part of the UK. Northern Ireland also voted in favour of Remain, which has re-opened talk of re-unification with the Republic of Ireland. Personally, if Scotland and Northern Ireland are still part of the United Kingdom in 5 years, I'll be amazed. I expect both to be gone.

 

In terms of how the exit will happen, that will be dependent on what happens with the Conservative leadership change over. The mechanism for leaving the EU is Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. Once that is invoked, a country has 2 years in which to negotiate their exit - after that 2 years, they are no longer part of the EU. So it will all depend on when Article 50 is invoked. As for the EU, nationalist movements in Europe are looking at this result and wondering if they can have some too. This exit could leave big enough cracks in the EU to cause it to fall apart.

 

This results has left me feeling the worst I have ever felt after a vote in my life. I feel numb. Despite all the issues with the EU, and there are many, I am personally of the opinion that we would be better of in it, with reforms. Sadly, the rest of the country disagree. I am incredibly disappointed. But, what has happened has happened, and it is time to move on. This result has shown we currently have a very divided country. We now need to pull together, unite as much as we can, and make the most of the situation we now find ourselves in. We can't moan, bitch and sulk that we didn't get the result we wanted. We have a result, and now we have to make the best of it.

 

Back in February, I told friends that I was terrified that by the start of 2017 Britain would no longer be in the EU and that Donald Trump would be President. Sadly, I'm going to be at least half right. 



#2 stone

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 04:49 PM

Good for the Brits for finally standing up to the EU bureaucrats. Looks like France is lining up to be next. 

 

The EU has long been known now as a failed experiment. It is an undemocratic organization that has lead to fiscal stagnation, high unemployment, and, less directly, high levels of corruption. The disparity between EU members was far too great to survive under a single currency without a strong governing body that had the power to force the lesser nations to behave. 

 

Good riddance. 



#3 Aint

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Posted 24 June 2016 - 09:35 PM

Three cheers for England's exercise of its sovereignty!

#4 jackdiddley

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Posted 25 June 2016 - 06:09 AM

The good news so far is that it turns out JP Morgan aren't pulling out of London, the FTSE and Sterling have started to bounce back. But that's about all.

 

Now, the bad news..

 

The Prime Minister has resigned. Which means the government will be spending the next few months fighting among themselves to decide who the next PM should be. Instead of, you know, running the country.

 

The Opposition, which was barely any use anyway, was completely ineffectual during the referendum campaign, resulting in their staunchest supporters voting AGAINST the party line. A motion of no confidence has been tabled against the leader, which means the Opposition will ALSO be spending the next few months fighting among themselves as well. All this basically means that Parliament might as well not be sitting until October.

 

And THEN, once we have a new Prime Minister, they will invoke Article 50 and the process of leaving will start. Meaning an awful lot of their time will be spent in negotiations with the EU rather than, you know, running the country.

 

Oh, and this guy will probably be PM. And while he is entertaining, I'm not sure I want him in charge:

 

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#5 Dax

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Posted 25 June 2016 - 08:09 AM

On this side of the pond they're saying there may be a do-over. Do you see any possibility of that?



#6 jackdiddley

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Posted 25 June 2016 - 11:25 AM

There is a petition to have a second referendum, saying that since there wasn't a 60% majority on a 75% turnout, it should be re-run. I doubt it will happen though.

There was a 72% turn out in Thursday. The last time there was a higher turnout at a national vote was 1992. So no result would be seen as valid.

Also, I can't help thinking that had the result been the other way and Leave supporters asked for a do-over, the same people wanting this second vote would be shouting them down saying they should respect democracy and the result. So I fear we must do the same. Just because I don't like the result doesn't mean it is less valid.

#7 Helice

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Posted 25 June 2016 - 12:21 PM

Boris and Trump will get along well together.

 

They can have a sleep-over and do each others' hair.



#8 mmoghand

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Posted 25 June 2016 - 08:07 PM

On this side of the pond they're saying there may be a do-over. Do you see any possibility of that?

 

Not only a strong "NO !!" on a revote but also that the EU Ministers are saying they intend to make the exit punitive.

 

The choice for the Brits is close to what UKIP were saying in the last week or so before the vote. Between Merkel (as a mouthpiece for the German and French banks) and ECB there is a strong NeoCon pattern to EU fiscal policy. Same time, importing large numbers of immigrants is another NeoCon tactic for weakening Labor.

 

UKIP is billed as conservative. Thing is, their tactics for getting votes are taken over whole from the union wing of the Labour Party.

 

EU has to discourage other exits. Spain and Italy have reason to leave if trade is readily available. Norway is a EEA and EFTA member. That's all the Norse need for trade. Norway stayed out after a vote that had membership fail in 1972. Similar to this Brexit.

 

EU at this point means acceding to Brussels -- pro-bank and anti-labor and anti-pensions. EU is more Cameron than Cameron. Immigration is not the least of it, of course. Anyone who watched Brussels fall in line behind the Merkel immigration policy could mutter "Gold Rules" with no need for explanation.

 

Scotland is the exception where trade with EU is their life blood. And so far they have not seen much immigration. The Scots aim to live like Swedes, Dutch, Norwegians.

 

Gee, a national border between Scotland and England. Who would have thunk it ???



#9 aus

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Posted 25 June 2016 - 08:27 PM

THe EU kept peace in Europe for  70 years a record in modern times.



#10 mmoghand

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 07:19 AM

THe EU kept peace in Europe for  70 years a record in modern times.

 

Really ???

 

The wars between Georgia and Russia, Basque-Spain, Bosnia, Kosovo, the various IRA messes, the last 5 years of messes in Ukraine.

 

That's not counting local rebellions and such as the Red Guard messes.

 

Germany converted from tanks to euros. That's the big change.



#11 Aint

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 08:02 AM

Word has it that the whole of England is awash is race riots. Bands of thugs are roamimg the streets haranging anyone they believe is not English, and cards are being put in people's letter boxes instructing them to "go home".

Jack, what are you seeing?

#12 jackdiddley

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 10:58 AM

If that's true, the news is ignoring it.

There are reports of racist incidents with people telling "foreigners go home", but it's a stretch to call it race riots. Or riots at all.

Certainly very quiet round our way.

#13 aus

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 08:29 PM

mmoghand. What I am saying there has been no major between European countries in the past 70 year. In the previou two to five  hundred years there were constant wars between Britain,  Germany, France and Spain.

Wars between Russia and Georgia. Basque and Spain and the IRA were civil wars . Bosina and Kosova started in one country as was Ukraine and Russia. None involve the major powers of Western Europe.

The Red Guards were Chinese There is a danger that wars will breakout again between England and other European countries/.


Edited by aus, 26 June 2016 - 08:29 PM.


#14 jackdiddley

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 02:42 PM

May announced at the Conservative conference that Article 50 will be triggered no later than March next year. So by March 2019, one way or another, we will no longer be part of the EU.

#15 Helice

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Posted 08 October 2016 - 06:08 PM

I've been rather mystified at all the news reports that filter through here, smugly saying stuff like (I paraphrase) "Well now! Despite all the tears and fears concerning Brexit, life is going on much the same as usual. Worries for nothing; tempest in a teapot. Brexit has made no difference to anyone's life, and never will."

 

Isn't that a short-sighted conclusion, considering that Brexit hasn't yet and will not take effect for some time to come...?

 

Our ultra-conservatives here in the US are happily applauding Brexit, as they see it in the same warm light as U.S. "State's Rights", and the secession of the Southern Confederacy from the overbearing Federal Government (which they approve of) that led to our Civil War.

 

In other words, they see it as your rejection of "big government", and they assume that it means the majority of British people share US far-right conservative goals and values. Things like xenophobia, isolationism, low taxes on big business, rescinding benefits for the poor, imposition of Christian religious values on secular life, etc. 

 

Would you agree with that sentiment, Jack?





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